For many weed growers and users, the potency of the weed is vital and since grinding is also highly important, this has become a hot topic for the weed community.
Does weed lose potency after grinding?
The grinding method and the storage method are both key factors that may increase or decrease the potency of weed. Many herb grinders, such as the Mamba Grinder, advertise:
"unlocking hidden tastes, aromas and potency for enhanced elevated experiences".
But what does this statement truly mean?
In this blog post, we’re going to knuckle down on what weed potency truly is, why it matters, and whether it indeed loses its potency after grinding.
What The Heck Is Weed Potency and Why does it Matter?
Potency is defined as "the power of something to influence or make an impression". In the context of weed, its potency is measured by the amount of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) in the product, which is the active component that gives the ‘high’ of marijuana. Typically, THC levels in marijuana are around 0.3-4%. So, with declining THC comes declining effectiveness of the drug and the ultimate end goal for marijuana users.
The trichomes covering the plant the cannabis is sourced from, determine the potency of the product. Trichomes are little hairs that have high concentrations of THC metabolites and fragrances, hence more trichomes equals greater potency. By this logic, losing trichomes could decrease potency, and this is where storage and grinding become an issue of contention for weed users.
Secondly, the grinding of weed has many techniques and their differences affect the potency of the weed. One main issue is loss of small bits, either it getting stuck in your grinder or on various surfaces as you grind. The other issue is exposure to air while grinding. Sometimes manual grinding can be time-consuming and remember, it takes about 1-2 hours of constant exposure to air for weed to lose substantial potency.
The science behind the loss of potency of ground weed has to do with surface area. Smaller particles have a greater surface area. This means that an unground weed has less exposure to light and air than a ground weed. All the little molecules in your ground weed are subject to degradation, and much more quickly than the unground weed – especially if the storage conditions are not optimal. Plus, it’s much easier to lose many small bits of ground weed.
What Methods Of Grinding Are Out There? Which Is Better For Potency?
There are manual and electric ways of grinding weed.
The question is, how can users grind weed with the least time-consuming exposure to air, and how can users contain all of its compounds? – as loss of compounds will reduce the concentration of the THC and thus the potency of the herb.
For Example: The manual way of grinding with a mortar and pestle would reduce the potency, expose to air, and increase the risk of losing your herb.
To solve this, you should find a suitable and high-quality electric grinder that both unlocks and preserves the potency of your weed.
Electric weed grinders are a usually preferred to manual grinding, because they reduce the time for grinding (down to a few minutes), and most importantly, the retain the herb's potency.
Another thing to note is that, electric weed grinders allow little air to pass through them during the grinding process.
Related article: 4 Reasons Why Electric Herb Grinders Are Better than Manual Grinders
How To Store Ground Weed
Firstly, ground weed dries up faster than non-ground weed, and this may decrease the potency of the product before smoking. Many weed smokers are concerned that pre-ground weed stored for later use may lose its potency over time. The actual storage of weed is also important in affecting its potency. Airtight storage containers placed in a cool, dark place are the best environment for retaining potency.
The general rule is, only grind 2-3 days’ worth of weed at a time as immediately after grinding, it starts to lose its potency gradually due to oxidation.
A study on the stability of cannabis determined that exposure to air was the greatest factor causing loss of cannabinoids – which include THC and CBD, the components that make up the ‘high’ and medicinal qualities of marijuana.
There is also the issue of losing odour/fragrance over time, making it not as nice to smoke as freshly ground weed. It is suggested that you keep unground marijuana in a large airtight container, and in the short term, ground stash should be kept in a smaller bag or jar and separated from the main stash.
Here is a comprehensive article we have written on how to store weed properly
Tips for improving/retaining the potency of your weed
- Avoid touching the herb before you grind them. While it may not look like you’re spreading and losing product on the kitchen bench, molecules that are too small to be seen will indeed shake off and rub onto anything else you touch.
Related Article: The Ultimate Guide to Healthy Cannabis Consumption
- Avoid exposure to air, especially when you’re grinding your product! Remember, increased surface area of the finely ground product means lots of air particles can get into your product and work on degrading the THC and decreasing the potency of your weed.
- Store in a cool, dark place with an air-tight container, and only for 2-3 days. Any longer runs the risk of reducing its potency. Although many people say that the proper conditions can keep your marijuana fully potent for months, it is safer to use them up sooner rather than later. If you leave ground weed for weeks or months, the odour/flavour will change and smoking it will be less enjoyable.
- Invest in a good weed grinder and collect the hash at the end of the month. Good grinders will collect the trichomes that fall off in the grinding process, so you can reuse them and get a very potent ground marijuana batch full of THC goodness!
Related Article: Can I Use A Coffee Grinder To Grind Weed? | Pros and Cons
The grinding method and storage of your weed can impact its potency. Just to be clear, the act of grinding doesn’t reduce the potency of your product, if you do it right.
Potency is the amount of THC molecules you have retained when you smoke it. This increases the effects of the weed.
Here are some key things to note about weed potency:
- Weed molecules falling off via the grinding process or when handling the ground or unground herb.
- Exposure to the environment-air and light!
- Reducing THC reduces the concentration of active cannabinoids in the weed, you’ll eventually use.
4. Exposure to air and sunlight should be minimized.
5. Avoid using manual grinder to grind weed
6. Electric grinders, such as the Mamba Grinder, are an excellent choice. They are generally more convenient and faster than manual weed grinders.
We hope this blog post helped clear the air about what affects the potency of marijuana and why it’s important!